Space Matters

Corporate space design has evolved significantly over the past 15 years. Coveted corner offices are a thing of the past—replaced by open floor plans and low cubes. Where your employees sit and their personal space is a hot topic. When planning for space changes, you need to consider the different ways employees work as well as their personalities.

Twelve years ago, our in-house agency moved to a new floor which provided us with an opportunity to change our workspace and foster a more collaborative, integrated environment. Before designing our new space, we visited three New York based companies to see their newly renovated facilities. One of the firms was Bloomberg. We were surprised by their space— no offices, low cubes, and desks arranged with management sitting alongside staff to enable better communication and oversight. The Bloomberg space created an environment where the focus was on the work, not the hierarchy. Such floor plans are becoming the norm in offices across the country, with private or semi-private space held for team meetings and brainstorming.

Technology has also influenced how we use space. Employees are finding their work to be more portable, as they grab a laptop and go to a meeting. Appointed desk space doesn’t matter as much anymore. In fact, some companies don’t even have assigned seating; they merely direct employees to a certain floor. The idea behind this is that the more people move around, the more likely they will be to collaborate and generate new ideas with one another. Studies have shown that the closer you sit to someone, the more likely you will be to share information with them.

What will the office of the future look like? Maybe no walls at all. We seem to be headed that way. If you’re looking for some interesting design ideas, check out ZipCar, Ziegler Cooper, andChaotic Moon. If you have a unique or interesting space you’d like to share, send us picture and we’ll include it in one of our upcoming blog posts as we explore Work Environments over the next four weeks at IHAF. Join us!

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